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The Post-Corporate University

Page history last edited by Davin Heckman 14 years, 5 months ago


A Call to Action


This project presumes that the University is in crisis and that this crisis has been caused by the social and economic characteristics of “Neoliberalism.”  I am far from the first person to identify this crisis.  I do, however, feel that it has not been addressed adequately or consistently.  And, I am certain that it cannot be adequately or consistently addressed but in a systemic way, by many people, in many settings, with many relationships to the University, through multiple attempts at critique and action.  As a result, this project belongs to Liquid Books, a free and open wiki-based publication.  While I believe in such things as the “Creative Commons,” this project does not belong to everyone, rather, it can belong only to those who hold it in common.  Possession of such a project is not simply a given, rather it can only be had by those who care to make it.  Thus, I invite readers to participate actively, to build it from the ground up. 


As readers will note, this first chapter provides a bit of personal background, a bit of theory, and concludes with a proposal.  The second chapter hopes to direct specific attention to recent and ongoing events in the state of California as a means to explore questions raised in the first chapter against real-world events.  What comes next is entirely to be determined.  I am not an authority on the University.  I am only one person teaching at one school.  But I do hope that the limited information in this first chapter is provocative enough to generate additional content, some of which might be incorporated into this first chapter, but much of which will likely result in new chapters.   My personal goal with this project is not a unitary answer, but possible answers suggested by a multitude of theories and experiences that can move us beyond the grim prospect of our inert state.


As you read, think about what you might write, and let us give our answers to the question: Is Another University Possible?



Chapter 1: Neoliberal Arts and the 21st Century University


Chapter 2: Revolutionizing Education (California 2009)


The Post-Corporate University: Bibliography


The Post-Corporate University: Discussion


Comments (8)

Gary Hall said

at 9:26 am on Jun 11, 2009

Nick Knouf has sent Clare and I the following mail. We’ve agreed with Nick that we’ll talk about it on the Liquid Books wiki.

Nick wrote:"I am very interested in the "Post-Corporate University" Liquid Books project. I am currently a graduate student at Cornell University in information science exploring the interstitial spaces around digital art, critical theory, and science and technology studies. One of my present projects is called MAICgregator (http://maicgregator.org), a Firefox extension that aggregates information about the military-academic-industrial complex (a longish statement about the project can be found here: (http://maicgregator.org/statement). I'm not sure if [this will] fit in with the goals of the ['Post-Corporate University' Liquid Books] project, but if I can help out with it I would be interested in doing so."

Gary Hall said

at 9:29 am on Jun 11, 2009

Hi Nick,

Thanks for the offer of help. That's very generous of you. I already new about your MAICgregator project actually, and have been meaning to write to you about it in relation to a not-so-very-dissimilar project that I'm working on.

But I’m also wondering if we can connect it to Davin’s ‘Post-Corporate University’ Project in some way. Maybe Davin will have some ideas about that.

In the meantime, I'd be interested in learning more more about what happens to the information about the military-academic-industrial complex that is aggregated by MAICgregator? Could you say something about that?

For example, from the point of view of thinking about the ‘post-corporate university’, about performing an alternative to it, and also about the kind of things Clare and Davin have been talking about in relation to public pedagogy and hope, and’where democratic struggles can take place and what it might mean to create the affective conditions for students and others to want to engage in such struggles in the first place’ (Giroux), I guess it would also be useful to have you say more about things like: What is happening to the radical cartography this is produced by the MAICgregator? Is the only way to access this information to see it when it appears as a replacement or overlay on academic websites? Is any of this information being gathered together, collated, analysed, written up, published anywhere? Is anyone doing any analysis of and with this information?

I realise this is perhaps not necessarily the point of this particular project, that I’m in danger of taking it a little bit away from being net.art and more toward treating it like cultural studies or critical theory. But one of the things that’s exciting about your project, for me is that it does seem to be operating in the intersections between digital art, critical theory and science and technology studies, as you say.

Gary Hall said

at 9:58 am on Jun 11, 2009

As for the project I’m working on, it comes out of a piece I’ve just written for the June issue of Against the Grain (http://www.against-the-grain.com/d - if anyone wants a copy let me know).

In it I'm making a proposal for something called 'The Open Scholarship Full Disclosure Initiative'. This advocates the establishment of an initiative whereby all academic editors and publishers are asked to make freely available details of both their sources of income and funding, and of all the sources of financial income and support pertaining to the journals they run. Furthermore, as part of this initiative, I'm proposing we set up an equivalent directory to the DOAJ and SHERPA/RoMEO directories - only in this case documenting all these various sources of income and support, together with information as to who the owners of all the different academic journals in our respective fields are and, just as importantly, the other divisions, subsidiaries and activities of their various companies, organisations, institutions and associations.

The piece demonstrates why this might be an interesting thing to do with an example provided by Ted Striphas: that of Reed Elsevier, one of the main journal publishers in both the ‘hard’ and social sciences. Striphas reports that until as recently as 2007, Reed Elsevier was facilitating the global arms trade through its event planning arm, Reed Exhibitions, who ‘staged the annual Defense Systems and Equipment International (DSEi) event in the London Docklands, and similar events worldwide’.

Gary Hall said

at 9:59 am on Jun 11, 2009

My argument in the above piece is that a campaign for ‘full-disclosure’ would be of huge assistance in furnishing scholars and researchers in all areas, with the knowledge that will enable them to make responsible political and ethical decisions as to who they want to publish with or undertake peer review for - and thus who they want to give their free labour to. For example, as a result of this initiative and the information obtained some scholars may take a decision not to subscribe to, publish in, edit, peer review manuscripts or otherwise work for academic journals owned by multinationals involved in supporting the military - which takes in Taylor and Francis, who publish some 68 cultural studies journals, including Cultural Studies, Continuum, Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, etc.

I was wondering, could the MAICgregator or something like it be used or adapted to help with establishing such a directory or database in some way? Or establishing an ‘alternative’ kind of directory?

Davin Heckman said

at 4:58 pm on Jun 11, 2009

Nick, I think your work is ideally suited to a project such as this. In a practical sense, the MAICgregator reveals the hidden priorities of our educational institutions. This isn't to say that these very same institutions cannot and do not have other priorities, many of which are quite straightforward and commendable (For instance, Chomsky does great work from MIT). But I think being able to sort through these relationships and at the very least ask whether or not these things have ethical implications. It is absolutely stunning that a student can get an education which emphasizes things like feedback, interdependence, and globalization, while ignoring the ethical responsibilities that these imply. And while most institutions officially stress "ethics," what does it really say when you talk about ethics in broad ways, while studiously avoiding any personal, practical engagement with ethics? It says that "ethics" is simply another strategic resource, a PR technique, by which maximize the reach and impact of your ambitions while minimizing critique and dissent.

At the very least, an account of your work and the rationale behind it would be a great addition. But, if you wanted to go further (perhaps developing a list of resources or a set of challenges), we could work on a chapter that deals with the issue of funding, the issue of transparency, critical aesthetic responses, or something else entirely.

On the matter of authorship, I would be more than happy to see you develop a chapter of your own, which we could split off into an independent project, if it needs to be one. We could co-author something. We could simply pose some questions and see where the conversation goes. Maybe you want to write with a group of friends. I'm uninterested in inhibiting your interest.

Davin Heckman said

at 5:05 pm on Jun 11, 2009

Gary, I had heard of another scandal involving Elsevier, this one was an entirely fake journal published to promote products made by Merck <http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/55671/>. It would be very interesting to see similar analysis of various publications, in particular, specific articles that come out of the public/private "partnerships."

Clare Birchall said

at 10:29 am on Jun 17, 2009

Because of the word limit in these comment boxes, please continue this conversation on a new page reserved for discussions:
This should give us more room to say what we want to say - one of the advantages of the Internet...

Arthur P. Arthur said

at 8:19 pm on Apr 12, 2012

Have you met Rod Carr, a university head leading the charge in the marketization of higher education, and in the implementation of tactics designed to stifle all resistance amongst faculty?
Watch the vid to see Carr instruct faculty members to rat one another one to management in order to save their jobs.

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